Pittsburgh Penguins (43-27-12) at New York Rangers (53-22-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 16, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New York Rangers -190 / Pittsburgh Penguins +171 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Penguins and Rangers meet up at MSG for game one of their Eastern Conference opening round series in one that heavily favours the Blue Shirts.
The Penguins started off the season looking like contenders once again but a sub par second half and a depleted blue line has them in trouble heading into the postseason and they are big time underdogs against the New York Rangers in this series. Pittsburgh has a ton of talent up front and that is a lethal weapon to have but they haven't been able to utilize their strengths on a consistent basis this season despite another productive year from Sidney Crosby and now going up against a healthy Henrik Lundqvist it could be a quick series for the one time league powers. Crosby surely is the best player in this series but Rick Nash is making his case and could end up being the most prolific scorer in this series if the New York defense gets its way. Marc-Andre Fleury will get the nod to counter against Lundqvist.
The Rangers head into the playoffs as the President's Trophy winners and nothing short of another Stanley Cup appearance would make this season a successful one and at that you know the Rangers have Cup or bust on their minds. New York was the best team in the league during the regular season and have a great pedigree for playoff success as they have plenty of experience, a great goaltender, a sound road record, and great coaching which all adds up to why the Rangers are not only big time favourites in this series but to win the Cup as well. However, this is a funny time of the year as all bets are off when it comes to regular season performances and while I don't think the Pens will win the series I do think it'll be closer than people think. As such, I like the first game to go over as the Pens need to be able to solve Lundqvist if they have any shot in this series and the Penguins have notoriously been weak in the defensive zone in hockey's second season.